Quarterly Review: Khemmis, Morag Tong, Holy Mushroom, Naisian, Haunted, Pabst, L.M.I., Fuzz Forward, Onségen Ensemble, The Heavy Eyes

Posted in Reviews on July 18th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-CALIFORNIA-LANDSCAPE-Julian-Rix-1851-1903

I always say the same thing on the Wednesday of the Quarterly Review. Day 3. The halfway point. I say it every time. The fact is, doing these things kind of takes it out of me. All of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy listening to all these records — well, I don’t enjoy all of them, but I’m talking more about the process — just that it’s a lot to take in and by the time I’m done each day, let alone at the end of the week, I’m fairly exhausted. So every time we hit the halfway point of a Quarterly Review, I feel somewhat compelled to note it. Cresting the hill, as it were. It’s satisfying to get to this point without my head falling off.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Khemmis, Desolation

khemmis desolation

Continuing their proclivity for one-word titles, Denver doom forerunners Khemmis take a decisive turn toward the metallic with their third album for 20 Buck Spin, the six-track/41-minute Desolation. Songs like opener “Bloodletting” and its side B counterpart “The Seer” are still tinged with doom, but the NWOBHM gallop in “Isolation” and “Maw of Time” – as well as the sheer force of the latter – is an unexpected twist. Khemmis showed classic metal elements on 2016’s was-a-very-big-deal Hunted (review here) and 2015’s debut, Absolution (review here), but it’s a question of balance, and as they’ve once again worked with producer Dave Otero, one can only read the shift as a conscious decision. The harder edge suits them – certainly suits the screams in “Maw of Time” and side A finale/album highlight “Flesh to Nothing” – and as Khemmis further refine their sound, they craft its most individualized manifestation to-date. There’s no hearing Desolation and mistaking Khemmis for another band. They’ve come into their own.

Khemmis on Thee Facebooks

20 Buck Spin website

 

Morag Tong, Last Knell of Om

morag tong last knell of om

A rumbling entry into London’s Heavy Generation, the four-piece Morag Tong unfold voluminous ritual on their debut full-length, Last Knell of Om. Largely slow and largely toned, the work of guitarists Alex Clarke and Lewis Crane brings the low end to the forefront along with the bass of James Atha while drummer Adam Asquith pushes the lurch forward on cuts like “New Growth” and “To Soil,” the band seemingly most comfortable when engaged in crawling tempos and weighted pummel. Asquith also adds semi-shouted vocals to the mire, which, surrounded by distortion as they are, only make the proceedings sound even more massive. There’s an ambience to “We Answer” and near-13-minute closer “Ephemera: Stare Through the Deep,” which gives the record a suitably noisy finish, but much of what Morag Tong are going for in sound depends on the effectiveness of their tonality, and they’ve got that part down on their debut. Coupled with the meditative feel in some of this material, that shows marked potential on the band’s part for future growth.

Morag Tong on Thee Facebooks

Morag Tong on Bandcamp

 

Holy Mushroom, Blood and Soul

holy mushroom blood and soul

Working quickly to follow-up their earlier-2018 sophomore long-player, Moon (review here), Spain’s Holy Mushroom present Blood and Soul, an EP comprised of two songs recorded live in the studio. I’m not entirely sure why it’s split up at all, as the two-minute “Introito” – sure enough, a little introduction – feeds so smoothly into the 19-minute “Blood and Soul” itself, but fair enough either way as the trio shift between different instrumentation, incorporating sax, piano and organ among the guitar, bass, drums and vocals, and unfold a longform heavy psychedelic trip that not only builds on what they were doing with Moon but is every bit worthy of being released on its own. I don’t know if it was recorded at the same time as the record or later – both were done at Asturcon Studios – but it’s easy to see why the band would want to highlight “Blood and Moon.” Between the deep-running mix, the easy rhythmic flow into and out from drifting spaciousness, and the turn in the middle third toward more expansive arrangement elements, it’s an engaging motion that makes subtly difficult shifts seem utterly natural along the way. And even if you didn’t hear the latest full-length, Blood and Soul makes for a fitting introduction to who Holy Mushroom are as a band and what they can do.

Holy Mushroom on Thee Facebooks

Clostridium Records website

 

Naisian, Rejoinder

naisian rejoinder

Sludge-infused noise rock serves as the backdrop for lyrical shenanigans on the three-song Rejoinder EP from Sheffield, UK, trio Naisian. Running just 12 minutes, it’s a quick and thickened pummel enacted by the band, who work in shades of post-metal for “90 ft. Stone,” “Mantis Rising” and “Lefole,” most especially in the middle cut, but even there, the focus in on harsh vocals and lumbering sonic heft. It’s now been seven years since the band sort-of issued their debut album, Mammalian, and six since they followed with the Monocle EP, and the time seems to have stripped down their sound to a degree. “Lefole” is the longest track on Rejoinder at 5:18 and it’s still shorter than every other song Naisian have put out to-date. Their crunch lacks nothing for impact, however, and to go with the swing of “Lefole,” everybody seems to contribute to a vocal assault that only adds to the punishing but thoughtful vibe.

Naisian on Thee Facebooks

Naisian on Bandcamp

 

Haunted, Dayburner

haunted dayburner

The effects-laden vocal swirl at the outset of Haunted’s “Mourning Sun” and moments in the Italian act’s longer-form material, “Waterdawn” or “Orphic,” for example, will invariably lead some listeners to point to a Windhand influence, but the character of the band’s second album, Dayburner (on Twin Earth, DHU and Graven Earth all), follows their 2016 self-titled (review here) by holding steady to a developing identity of its own. To be sure, vocalist Christina Chimirri, guitarists Francesco Bauso and Francesco Orlando, bassist Frank Tudisco and drummer Dario Casabona make their way into a deep, murky swamp of modern doom in “Dayburner” (video posted here), but in the crush of their tones amid all that trance-inducing riffing, they cast themselves as an outfit seeking to express individuality within the set parameters of style. Their execution, then, is what it comes down to, and with “Orphic” (12:46) and “Vespertine” (13:19) back to back, there’s plenty of doom on the 66-minute 2LP to roll that out. And they do so in patient and successful form, with marked tonal vibrancy and a sense of controlling the storm they’re creating as they go.

Haunted on Thee Facebooks

Twin Earth Records website

DHU Records webstore

Graven Earth Records webstore

 

Pabst, Chlorine

pabst chlorine

So, the aesthetic is different. Pabst play a blend of noise, post-punk, heavy rock and grunge, but with the ready pop influence — to wit, the outright danceability of “Shits,” reminiscent in its bounce of later Queens of the Stone Age – and persistent melodicism, there’s just a twinge of what Mars Red Sky did for heavy rolling riffs happening on Chlorine, their Crazysane Records debut. It’s in that blend of dense low-end fuzz and brighter vocal melodies, but again, Pabst, hailing from Berlin, are on their own trip. Weird but almost more enjoyable than it seems to want to be, the 12-track/35-minute outing indulges little and offers singalong-ready vibes in “Catching Feelings” and “Waterslide” while “Waiting Loop” chills out before the push of “Accelerate” and the angularity of “Cheapskate” take hold. Chrlorine careens and (blue) ribbons its way to the drive-fast-windows-open stylization of “Summer Never Came” and the finale “Under Water,” a vocal effect on the latter doing nothing to take away from its ultra-catchy hook. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a record someone with just the right kind of open mind can come to love.

Pabst on Thee Facebooks

Crazysane Records webstore

 

L.M.I., IV

lmi iv

If you’ve got a dank basement full of skinny college kids, chances are Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s L.M.I. are ready to tear their faces off. The sludge-thickened riff punkers run abut 11 minutes with their five-song release, L.M.I. IV, and that’s well enough time to get their message across. Actually, by the end of “Neck of Tension” and “Weaning Youth,” roughly four and half minutes in, the statement of intent is pretty clear. L.M.I. present furious but grooving hardcore punk more given to scathe than pummel, and their inclusions on L.M.I. IV bring that to life with due sense of controlled chaos. Centerpiece “Lurking Breath” gives way to “First to Dark” – the longest cut at a sprawling 2:55 – and they save a bit of grunge guitar scorch and lower-register growling for closer “June was a Test,” there isn’t really time in general for any redundancy to take hold. That suits the feeling of assault well, as L.M.I. get in and get out on the quick and once they’re gone, all that’s left to do is clean the blood off the walls.

L.M.I. on Thee Facebooks

L.M.I. on Bandcamp

 

Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere

fuzz forward out of nowhere

Released one way or another through Discos Macarras, Odio Sonoro, Spinda Records and Red Sun Records, the eight-song/43-minute debut album from Barcelona’s Fuzz Forward, Out of Nowhere, has earned acclaim from multiple corners for its interpretation of grunge-era melodies through a varied heavy rock filter. Indeed, the vocals of Juan Gil – joined in the band by guitarist Edko Fuzz, bassist Jordi Vaquero and drummer Marc Rockenberg – pull the mind directly to a young Layne Staley, and forces one to realize it’s been a while since that low-in-the-mouth approach was so ubiquitous. It works well for Gil in the laid back “Summertime Somersaults” as well as the swinging, cowbell-infused later cut “Drained,” and as the band seems to foreshadow richer atmospheric exploration on “Thorns in Tongue” and “Torches,” they nonetheless maintain a focus on songwriting that grounds the proceedings and will hopefully continue to serve as their foundation as they move forward. No argument with the plaudits they’ve thus far received. Seems doubtful they’ll be the last.

Fuzz Forward on Thee Facebooks

Fuzz Forward on Bandcamp

 

Onségen Ensemble, Duel

Onsegen ensemble duel

The kind of record you’re doing yourself a favor by hearing – a visionary cast of progressive psychedelia that teems with creative energy and is an inspiration even in the listening. Frankly, the only thing I’m not sure about when it comes to Oulu, Finland, outfit Onségen Enseble’s second album, Duel, is why it isn’t being released through Svart Records. It seems like such a natural fit, with the adventurous woodwinds on opener “Think Neither Good Nor Evil,” the meditative sprawl of the title-track (video posted here), the jazz-jam in the middle of “Dogma MMXVII,” the tribalist percussion anchoring the 12-minute “Three Calls of the Emperor’s Teacher,” which surely would otherwise float away under its own antigravity power, and the free-psych build of closer “Zodiacal Lights of Onségen,” which shimmers in otherworldly fashion and improvised-sounding spark. On Svart or not, Duel is one of the best albums I’ve heard this year, and one the creativity of which puts it in a class of its own, even in the vast reaches of psychedelic rock. Whether it means to or not, it tells a story with sound, and that story should be heard.

Onségen Ensemble on Thee Facebooks

Onsegen Ensemble on Bandcamp

 

The Heavy Eyes, Live in Memphis

the heavy eyes live in memphis

Since so much of The Heavy Eyes’ studio presentation has consistently been about crispness of sound and structured songwriting, it’s kind of a relief to hear them knock into some feedback at the start of “Mannish Boy” at the outset of Live in Memphis (on Kozmik Artifactz). The three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Tripp Shumake, bassist Wally Anderson and drummer Eric Garcia are still tight as hell, of course, and their material – drawn here from the band’s LPs, 2015’s He Dreams of Lions (review here), 2012’s Maera, 2011’s self-titled, as well as sundry shorter offerings – is likewise. They’ve never been an overly dangerous band, nor have they wanted to be, but the stage performance does add a bit of edge to “Iron Giants” from the debut, which is followed by singing “Happy Birthday” to a friend in the crowd. One of the most enjoyable aspects of Live in Memphis is hearing The Heavy Eyes loosen up a bit on stage, and hearing them sound like they’re having as good a time playing as the crowd is watching and hearing them do so. That sense of fun suits them well.

The Heavy Eyes on Thee Facebooks

The Heavy Eyes at Kozmik Artifactz

 

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Dirty Streets Announce New Album Distractions Due Sept. 14; Live Video Posted

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 28th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

dirty streets (Photo Bob Bayne)

Underrated heavy blues rockers Dirty Streets have a new record coming out, and if you’ve ever dug on some choice riffing, laid back grooves and weighted soul, you probably already know that’s good news. It’s been given the title Distractions and judging by the cover — which I’m told I’m not supposed to do but am doing anyway — it would seem to be somewhat in conversation with the business of our age. To wit, I believe I see a reference to cat memes on the bottom there (the cat), but if you look at the center of the eye in the middle of the piece, you’ll see there’s nothing good, so, you know, the message is pretty clear.

With the Dirty Streets though, the groove and melody are always key. Their last record was 2015’s jeez-I-hope-they’re-not-on-the-bad-drugs White Horse (review here), which was released by Alive Records, and as the 2015 LP found them on tour with the likes of Lo-PanThe Atomic Bitchwax and Spirit Caravan for months at a clip, one expects the new one to do likewise. It’s been a while since I’ve seen these cats, and I’ll gladly say out loud that I’d be happy to again. Details are pretty few and far between on the album as of now, but there’s a new live video posted for the song “Loving Man” filmed for I Listen to Memphis that finds them very much in their element. If the rest of the long-player pans out in similar fashion, we’ll all be lucky.

From the social medias:

dirty streets distractions

Hailing from Memphis, Tennessee, a hub of historical soul and blues that crafted much of the world’s modern music, Dirty Streets have spent years on the road and in the studio forging their own style. They’ve moved from DIY, independant recordings to ambitiously self-produced studio ventures over the course of five albums. Their fifth, and latest, LP, Distractions, is an explosively charged follow-up to their acclaimed 2015 release White Horse, which contains a unique style of heavy, soulful and sometimes psychedelic rock. Recorded at the historic Sam Phillips Recording studio in Memphis, the album pushes the sonic palette of the band to the next level with an eclectic mix of songs. Drawing from influences that span from the bluesy twang of Howlin’ Wolf and Wilson Pickett, to the heady expansiveness of Hendrix and Donovan, Distractions lives in its own time and place. The album was recorded live in the studio by Matt Qualls and Wesley Graham in the room where the raw and explosive energy of the Yardbirds’ iconic “Train Kept a Rollin’” was originally put to tape. This album continues the tradition.

Dirty Streets’ Distractions will be available September 14th on vinyl, CD, digital and streaming formats.

DISTRACTIONS TRACK LISTING:
01 Loving Man
02 The Sound
03 Dreams
04 Riding High
05 Can’t Go Back
06 Distractions
07 Take A Walk
08 Death’s Creep
09 On The Way
10 Trying To Remember

DIRTY STREETS is:
Thomas Storz
Justin Toland
Andrew Denham

https://www.facebook.com/thedirtystreets/
https://www.instagram.com/thedirtystreets/
https://dirtystreets.bandcamp.com/
http://www.dirtystreetsmusic.com

Dirty Streets, “Loving Man” live at The Beach House

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Quarterly Review: Novembers Doom, Abrams, The Grand Astoria, Hosoi Bros, Codeia, Ealdor Bealu, Stone Lotus, Green Yeti, Seer, Bretus

Posted in Reviews on July 13th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

So, after kvetching and hemming and hawing and all that other stuff that basically means ‘fretting and trying to shuffle a schedule around’ for the last several days, I think I’ve now found a way to add a sixth day to this Quarterly Review. Looking at all the records that still need to be covered even after doing 50, I don’t really see any other way to go. I could try to do more The Obelisk Radio adds to fit things in, but I don’t want to over-tax that new server, so yeah, I’m waiting at the moment to hear back on whether or not I can move a premiere from Monday to Tuesday to make room. Fingers crossed. I’ve already got the albums picked out that would be covered and should know by tomorrow if it’s going to happen.

Plenty to do in the meantime, so let’s get to it.

Quarterly Review #31-40:

Novembers Doom, Hamartia

novembers-doom-hamartia

Look. Let’s be honest here. More than 20 years and 10 records in, one knows at least on a superficial level what to expect from Chicago’s Novembers Doom. Since their first album arrived in 1995, they’ve played to one side or the other between the spectrum of death-doom, and their work legitimately broke ground in the style for a US band and in general. After a push over their last couple albums including 2014’s Bled White (review here) into more deathly fare, Hamartia (on The End Records) brings 10 tracks and 58 minutes of the melancholy dramas – special hello to the piano/acoustic-led title-track – and gut-wrenching, crushingly emotive miseries – special hello to “Waves in the Red Cloth” and “Ghost” – that have defined them. One doesn’t expect a radical departure from them at this point and they don’t deliver one even as they turn to another side of their overarching aesthetic, but whether it’s the still-propulsive death gallop of “Apostasy” or the lush nine-minute finale “Borderline,” Novembers Doom reinforce their position as absolute masters of the style and give their longtime fans another collection of vital woes in which to revel.

Novembers Doom on Thee Facebooks

The End Records website

 

Abrams, Morning

abrams morning

Not a hair out of place in the execution of Morning, the Sailor Records second long-player from Denver three-piece Abrams (interview here). That has its ups and downs, naturally, but is suited to the band’s take on modern progressive heavy rock à la newer Mastodon and Baroness, and with production from Andy Patterson (of SubRosa) and Dave Otero (Khemmis, Cephalic Carnage, etc.), the crisp feel is both purposeful and well earned. Their 2015 debut, Lust. Love. Loss. (review here), dealt with a similar emotional landscape, but bassist/vocalist Taylor Iversen, guitarist/vocalist Zachary Amster and drummer Geoffrey Cotton are tighter and more aggressive here on songs like opener “Worlds Away” (video posted here), “At the End,” “Rivers,” “Can’t Sleep” and “Burned” (video posted here), and “Mourning,” “In this Mask” and closer “Morning” balance in terms of tempo and overall atmosphere, making Morning more than just a collection of master-blasters and giving it a full album’s flow and depth. Like I said, not a hair out of place. Structure, performance, delivery, theme. Abrams have it all precisely where they want it.

Abrams on Thee Facebooks

Abrams on Bandcamp

 

The Grand Astoria, The Fuzz of Destiny

the-grand-astoria-the-fuzz-of-destiny

Dubbed an EP but running 29 minutes and boasting eight tracks, The Grand Astoria’s The Fuzz of Destiny is something of a conceptual release, with the St. Petersburg, Russia-based outfit paying homage to the effect itself. Each song uses a different kind of fuzz pedal, and as the ever-nuanced, progressive outfit make their way through the blown-out pastoralism of opener “Sunflower Queen” and into the nod of “Pocket Guru,” the organ-inclusive bursting fury of “Glass Walls” and the slower and more consuming title-track itself, which directly precedes closer “Eight Years Anniversary Riff” – yup, it’s a riff alright – they’re able to evoke a surprising amount of variety in terms of mood. That’s a credit to The Grand Astoria as songwriters perhaps even more than the differences in tone from song to song here – they’ve certainly shown over their tenure a will to embrace a diverse approach – but in giving tribute to fuzz, The Fuzz of Destiny successfully conveys some of the range a single idea can be used to conjure.

The Grand Astoria on Thee Facebooks

The Grand Astoria on Bandcamp

 

Hosoi Bros., Abuse Your Allusion III

hosoi-bros-abuse-your-allusion-iii

Oh, they’re up to it again, those Hosoi Bros. Their 2016 full-length, Abuse Your Allusion III, from its Guns ‘n’ Roses title reference through the Motörhead riffing of “Saint Tightus” through the stoner punk of “Topless Gnome” and the chugging scorch of the penultimate “Bitches are Nigh” offer primo charm and high-order shenanigans amid the most professional-sounding release of their career. Across a quick 10 tracks and 36 minutes, Hosoi Bros. readily place themselves across the metal/punk divide, and while there’s plenty of nonsense to be had from opener “Mortician” onward through “Lights Out” (video premiere here) and the later swagger of “Unholy Hand Grenade,” the band have never sounded more cohesive in their approach than they do on Abuse Your Allusion III, and the clean production only seems to highlight the songwriting at work underneath all the zany happenings across the record’s span, thereby doing them and the band alike a service as they make a convincing argument to their audience: Have fun. Live a little. It won’t hurt that much.

Hosoi Bros on Thee Facebooks

Hosoi Bros. on Bandcamp

 

Codeia, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared

codeia-dont-be-afraid-she-whispered-and-disappeared

There’s actually very little that gets “Lost in Translation” in the thusly-titled 22-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) of German post-metallers Codeia’s cumbersomely-named Backbite Records debut album, “Don’t be Afraid,” She Whispered and Disappeared. With heavy post-rock textures and an overarching sense of cerebral progressivism to its wash underscored by swells of low-end distortion, the three-piece of guitarist/backing vocalist Markus L., bassist/vocalist Denis S. and drummer Timo L. bring to bear patience out of the peak-era Isis or Cult of Luna sphere, sudden volume shifts, pervasive ambience, flourish of extremity and all. Nine-minute centerpiece “Shaping Stone” has its flash of aggression early before shifting into hypnotic and repetitive groove and subsequent blastbeaten furies, and 16-minute closer “Facing Extinction” caps the three-song/48-minute offering with nodding Russian Circles-style chug topped with growls that mask the layer of melodic drone filling out the mix beneath. They’re on familiar stylistic ground, but the breadth, depth and complexity Codeia bring to their extended structures are immersive all the same.

Codeia on Thee Facebooks

Backbite Records website

Mountain Range Creative Factory website

 

Ealdor Bealu, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain

ealdor-bealu-dark-water-at-the-foot-of-the-mountain

“Water Cycle,” the 13-minute opener and longest track (immediate points) of Ealdor Bealu’s debut full-length, Dark Water at the Foot of the Mountain, introduces a meditative feel and a breadth of sound that helps to define everything that follows. The ostensible side B leadoff of the self-release, “This too Shall Endure” (11:04), offers no less depth of atmosphere, and the graceful psychedelic expanses of the penultimate “Behind the Veil” continue to add to the overall scope with interplay of tempo variety and acoustic and electric guitar, but even earlier, shorter cuts like the wistful indie rocker “Deep Dark Below” and the linear-building “Behold the Sunrise” have an underlying progressivism that ties them to the longer form material, and likewise the particularly exploratory feeling “Ebb and Flow,” which though it’s the shortest cut at just over five minutes resonates as a standout jam ahead of “Behind the Veil” and subtly proggy seven-minute closer “Time Traveler.” The Boise-based four-piece of guitarist/vocalist/spearhead Carson Russell, guitarist Travis Abbott (also The Western Mystics), bassist/vocalist Rylie Collingwood and drummer/percussionist/saxophonist Alex Wargo bring the 56-minute offering to bear with marked patience and impress in the complexity of their arrangements and the identifiable human core that lies beneath them.

Ealdor Bealu on Thee Facebooks

Ealdor Bealu on Bandcamp

 

Stone Lotus, Comastone

I can take spicier foods than I ever could before.

One might consider the title of “Mountain of Filth,” the second cut on Stone Lotus’ debut album, Comastone, a mission statement for the Southwestern Australian trio’s vicious ‘n’ viscous brand of rolling, tonal-molasses sludge. Yeah, the three-piece of guitarist/vocalist Dave Baker, bassist Samuel Noire and drummer Reece Fleming bring ambience to the interlude “Aum,” the slower loud/quiet shifts in “Anthropocene” and the subsequent “Umbra” that leads into the creepy launch of the title-track – in fact, quiet starts are something of a theme throughout Comastone; even the thudding toms that begin opener “Swamp Coven” pale in comparison to the volume swell of massive distortion that follows closely behind – but it’s the rhythmic lumber and the harsh vocals from Baker that define their course through the darker recesses of sludged-out misanthropy. No complaints there, especially on a first long-player, but Stone Lotus are right to keep in mind the flourish of atmosphere their material offers, and one hopes that develops parallel to all the crushing weight of their mountainous approach.

Stone Lotus on Thee Facebooks

Stone Lotus on Bandcamp

 

Green Yeti, Desert Show

I'm not sure if that's an effect of dropping carbs or how it would be, but it's strange.

Even before it announces its heft, Green Yeti’s Desert Show casts forth its spaciousness. The second offering from the Athens-based trio in as many years dogwhistles heavy riffing intent even unto its David Paul Seymour album cover, but the five track rollout from guitarist/vocalist Michael Andresakis, bassist/producer Danis Avramidis and drummer Giannis Koutroumpis, as it shifts from the opening salvo of “Black Planets (Part 1)” and “Black Planets (Part 2)” into the Spanish-language centerpiece “Rojo” (direct homage perhaps to Los Natas? if so, effectively done) and into the broader-ranging “Bad Sleep (Part 1)” and 15-minute closer “Bad Sleep (Part 2)” builds just as much on its atmosphere as on its newer-school stoner rock groove and fuzz riffing. It is a 41-minute span that, without question, speaks to the heavy rock converted and plays to genre, but even taken next to the band’s 2016 debut, The Yeti has Landed, Desert Show demonstrates clear growth in writing and style, and stands as further proof of the emergence of Greece as a major contributor to the sphere of Europe’s heavy underground. Something special is happening in and outside of Athens. Green Yeti arrive at the perfect time to be a part of it.

Green Yeti on Thee Facebooks

Green Yeti on Bandcamp

 

Seer, Victims

seer victims

Let’s just assume that Seer won’t be asked to play at Dorney Park anytime soon. The Allentown, Pennsylvania, three-piece dig into largesse-minded instrumental riffing someplace between doom and sludge and do so on raw, formative fashion on the two-song Victims EP, which features the tracks “Victims… Aren’t We All?” and “Swollen Pit,” which is a redux from their 2015 debut short release, Vaped Remains. Some touch of Electric Wizard-style wah in Rybo’s guitar stands out in the second half of the opener, and the closer effectively moves from its initial crawl into post-Sleep stonerized idolatry, but the point of Victims isn’t nearly as much about scope as it is about Rybo, bassist Kelsi and drummer Yvonne setting forth on a stomping path of groove and riff worship, rumbling sans pretense loud enough to crack the I-78 corridor and offering the clever equalizer recommendation to put the bass, treble and mids all at six. Think about it for a second. Not too long though.

Seer on Thee Facebooks

Seer on Bandcamp

 

Bretus, From the Twilight Zone

bretus-from-the-twilight-zone

Doom! Horror! Riffs! Though it starts out with quiet acoustics and unfolds in echoing weirdness, Bretus’ new album, …From the Twilight Zone, more or less shouts these things from the proverbial cathedral rafters throughout its seven tracks. The Catanzaro, Italy, foursome weren’t shy about bringing an air of screamy sludge to their 2015 sophomore outing, The Shadow over Innsmouth (discussed here), but …From the Twilight Zone shifts more toward a Reverend Bizarre trad doom loyalism that suits the Endless Winter release remarkably well. Those acoustics pop up again in expanded-breadth centerpiece/highlight “Danza Macabra” and closer “Lizard Woman,” and thereby provide something of a narrative thread to the offering as a whole, but on the level of doom-for-doomers, there’s very little about the aesthetic that Bretus leave wanting throughout, whether it’s the faster-chug into drifting fluidity of “The Murder” or the nodding stomp of “In the Vault” (demo posted here) and crypto-NWOBHM flourish of “Old Dark House” (video posted here). Not trying to remake doom in their own image, but conjuring an eerie and engaging take in conversation with the masters of the form.

Bretus on Thee Facebooks

Endless Winter Records

 

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Hosoi Bros Premiere “Lights Out” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

hosoi-bros

I really dig the comment below about Hosoi Bros‘ new album, Abuse Your Allusion III from Severin Allgood. First of all, he’s right, the record is easily the most professional-sounding thing the Memphis-based heavy punkers have done — if you caught onto it last year, think of a less metal incarnation of Bloodcow‘s Crystals and Lasers as a comparison point — but it’s also interesting the way Allgood brings up how technology has changed the way we interact with music in our day-to-day. He names names: Bandcamp, Soundcloud, iPhone, Macbook, Spotify, your earbuds.

Hosoi Bros, who release Abuse Your Allusion III Sept. 23 on Typhoon Killer Records, already have it up and available to order from Bandcamp, so it’s not like they eschew this technology. I’m not sure a band could and reasonably expect anyone to hear their music. And Allgood isn’t necessarily the first to bring up the idea of making a full-album as opposed to a collection of single tracks, but I guess I haven’t often thought of streaming technology in terms of having a hand in leveling the playing field from a production standpoint, or how that might be used as a drive to surpass the status quo, as Hosoi Bros do with their latest.

Of course, it’s a more general statement about the album as a whole than “Lights Out” itself, for which you’ll find the chicanery-prone outfit getting up to some primo nonsense. At four and a half minutes, “Lights Out” is one of the longer tracks on the record, which has been a while in the making — they premiered a video for “Hands of Stone” here last year — but its catchy rush and crisp execution represent Abuse Your Allusion III well, even if it’s not as outwardly silly as “Drunk Donkey,” “Saint Tightus” or “Topless Gnome.”

Please find the video below, followed by the aforementioned statement from AllgoodAbuse Your Allusion III (note: it’s the first one) is out Sept. 23.

Enjoy:

Hosoi Bros., “Lights Out” official video

Severin Allgood on Abuse Your Allusion III:

We got super weird with this album. There’s gongs, bells, synths, and tree frogs. Alan Burchum did an amazing job with the production. It feels like an album. And by that I mean, it feels like when I was a kid and would bring home a new cassette and throw it on my stereo. Bandcamp and Soundcloud have decimated the playing field. Every idiot with an iPhone or a Macbook now has a demo available for download. We set out to make a polished, cohesive, and complete thought. We spent a lot of time adding layers and playing with track order. This album is designed to be played loud on your stereo. It was not made with the idea of individual tracks for Spotify radio. Take out your earbuds and crank up your speakers.

Hosoi Bros on Thee Facebooks

Hosoi Bros on Twitter

Hosoi Bros on Bandcamp

Typhoon Killer Records webstore

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The Dirty Streets Tour Starts this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on August 17th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

Okay, so I know I already posted these tour dates from the perspective of The Atomic Bitchwax, who are headlining this tour for which Memphis heavy blues rockers Dirty Streets will provide support. In my defense, I’ll say only that the tour kicks ass and if you can’t get down with someone trying to spread the word about shows you should go to, you’re probably on the wrong site. I don’t know how you got here, but feel free to move along. You know what? I got a press release today with the same dates from Lo-Pan, who are also joining for part of the trek. I’m gonna post them tomorrow. Take that, if you even can.

The Dirty Streets head out as they continue to proselytize their fourth album, White Horse (review here), as they’ve done pretty steadily since it came out on Alive Records last year. They’ll do the entire run with The Atomic Bitchwax and then some, and they’re even getting an early start tomorrow night in Murfreesboro, so the dates would seem to be easily worth a look on their own.

Dig it:

dirty streets

DIRTY STREETS US tour dates
8/18-Murfreesboro, TN @ Media Re-run
8/19-Charlotte, NC @ The Milestone
8/20-Hattiesburg, MS @ The Tavern
8/21-New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
8/22-San Antonio, TX @ Limelight
8/23- Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
8/24- Austin, TX @ Grizzly Hall
8/25- Fort Worth, TX @ Rail Club
8/26-Albequerque NM @ TBA
8/27-Las Vegas NV @ Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
8/28-San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
8/29-Hollywood, CA @ Viper Room
8/30-San Francisco, CA @ Elbo Room
8/31-Portand, OR @ Dantes
9/1-Vancouver, BC @ BIltmore
9/2- Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
9/3-Bellingham, WA @ Shakedown
9/4-Missoula, MT @ VFW hall
9/6-Minneapolis, MN @ Grumpy’s
9/7-Chicago IL @ Double Door
9/8-Cleveland OH @ Grog Shop
9/9-Philadelphia PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
9/10-Brooklyn, NY @ Black Bear
9/12-Savannah, GA @ El-Rocko
9/17-Memphis, TN @ Cooper Young Fest
9/23-Memphis, TN @ DKDC

https://www.facebook.com/thedirtystreets
http://www.alive-records.com/artist/the-dirty-streets/
http://dirtystreets.bandcamp.com/

The Dirty Streets, White Horse (2015)

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The Atomic Bitchwax, Lo-Pan & The Dirty Streets Announce Coast-to-Coast Tour

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 21st, 2016 by JJ Koczan

A couple months ago, while out on a run with The Obsessed and Karma to BurnTone Deaf is killing it with the package tours this year — bassist/vocalist Chris Kosnik of The Atomic Bitchwax sustained an injury to his arm that forced the band to cancel about half the dates. Sierra filled in, but still kind of a bummer for the stalwart NJ trio, whose 2015 Tee Pee Records album, Gravitron (review here), was among the year’s finest.

No doubt they’d get back out, and this time they’ll be headlining a coast-to-coast stint with Ohio’s Lo-Pan and Memphis blues rockers The Dirty Streets. For Lo-Pan, it will mark the four-piece’s first tour with new guitarist Chris Thompson, who was just announced as having joined the band earlier this week. They’re on the tour from Aug. 19 through Aug. 27 only, it looks like, so presumably the next night will serve as their stop at Psycho Las Vegas. The Dirty Streets, on the other hand, have an off-night as the Bitchwax and Lo-Pan roll into Tucson on Aug. 27, so I guess that’s when they’ll be playing the Vegas megafestival.

In any case, glad to see The Atomic Bitchwax heading off again and continuing to keep excellent company. Dates were posted by the band:

the atomic bitchwax lo pan dirty streets tour-700

USA!!
Arm is healed up so let’s try this again!!

THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX (ALL DATES)
W/ LO PAN (8/19-9/27) and THE DIRTY STREETS (8/19-9/10 excluding 8/27)
08/19/2016 Charlotte NC The Milestone w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/20/2016 Hattiesburg MS The Tavern w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/21/2016 New Orleans LA Siberia w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/22/2016 San Antonio TX Limelight w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/23/2016 Houston TX White Oak Music Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/24/2016 Austin TX Grizzly Hall w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/25/2016 Ft Worth TX Rail Club w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/26/2016 Albuquerque NM Ned’s Bar w/ Lo-Pan, The Dirty Streets
08/27/2016 Tucson AZ Flycatcher w/ Lo-Pan
08/28/2016 San Diego CA Soda Bar w/ The Dirty Streets
08/29/2016 Los Angeles CA Viper Room w/ The Dirty Streets
08/30/2016 San Francisco CA Elbo Room w/ The Dirty Streets
08/31/2016 Portland OR Dante’s w/ The Dirty Streets
09/01/2016 Vancouver BC Biltmore w/ The Dirty Streets
09/02/2016 Seattle WA El Corazon w/ The Dirty Streets
09/03/2016 Bellingham WA Shakedown w/ The Dirty Streets
09/06/2016 Minneapolis MN Grumpy’s w/ The Dirty Streets
09/07/2016 Chicago IL Double Door w/ The Dirty Streets
09/08/2016 Cleveland OH Grog Shop w/ The Dirty Streets
09/09/2016 Philadelphia PA Kung Fu Necktie w/ The Dirty Streets
09/10/2016 Brooklyn NY Black Bear w/ The Dirty Streets

https://www.facebook.com/The-Atomic-Bitchwax-86002001659/
https://www.facebook.com/lopandemic/
https://www.facebook.com/thedirtystreets
http://tonedeaftouring.com/

The Atomic Bitchwax, Live in Toulouse, France

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The Heavy Eyes Announce West Coast Dates

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

the heavy eyes-700

Memphis three-piece The Heavy Eyes have announced a week-long run of shows on the West Coast for next month. The band released their third LP, He Dreams of Lions (review here), last fall via Kozmik Artifactz, and all I have to do is read the name of the album to have the titular hook stuck in my head. In addition to this current round of shows, the band threatens further incursions outside their Southeastern home base, including a potential stint in Europe, perhaps to materialize later this year. One to keep an eye out for, but in the meantime, they cover a considerable amount of ground in just these five shows — one imagines a drive up the coast in July is lovely as well — and you’ll find the dates and poster below.

Also included is the full stream of He Dreams of Lions, in case you’d also like it stuck in your head for the rest of the day:

the heavy eyes tour

Fuzz and groove based Heavy Eyes announce tour dates for the western half of the US. Heavy Eyes, who released their third album, He Dreams of Lions, in November, will be hitting the road from 7/10 starting in Tempe, AZ and ending in Missoula, MT on 7/16. While the tour is quick, Heavy Eyes have promised to add more dates in future months and hopefully to include Europe in the near future. See July dates below.

7/10 Tempe, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room
7/11 Los Angeles, CA @ Viper Room
7/13 Portland, OR @ Ash Street Saloon
7/14 Seattle, OR @ High Dive
7/16 Missoula, MT @ Stage 112

Following on from their 2011 self-titled debut, and 2012’s successful Maera album, Memphis trio The Heavy Eyes return to the fold November 2015 with their most accomplished record to date. Over eleven tracks, amidst the unbridled rawness of ‘Saint’, the sheer weight of ‘Z-Bo’ and R’n’B shake appeal of ‘Smoke Signal, hypnotic hard rock riffs are delivered thick and fast through distorted fuzz boxes, gnarled bass lines and levee breaking drum beats. This is an album that draws heavily from the heaviest (Led Zeppelin, Humble Pie, Mountain) and in doing so turns out new ideas with a punishing authenticity and honesty in line with their Memphis blues heritage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheHeavyEyes/
http://theheavyeyesmemphis.bandcamp.com/
https://instagram.com/theheavyeyes/
https://www.facebook.com/kozmikartifactz
http://kozmik-artifactz.com/

The Heavy Eyes, He Dreams of Lions (2015)

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Dirty Streets on Tour Till June; Euro Dates Announced

Posted in Whathaveyou on March 11th, 2016 by JJ Koczan

dirty streets

Next weekend, Memphis heavy blues rockers Dirty Streets head to SXSW, where they’ll hop on the Bongzilla tour for the night and join the formidable ranks of Bongzilla, Black Cobra, Kings Destroy, Lo-Pan and Author and Punisher. In August, they’ll be playing Psycho Las Vegas (details here). Most of the time in between, they’ll spend on the road supporting their late-2015 album, White Horse (review here), which was released by Alive Records and reaffirmed the trio’s commitment to quality songwriting and classic-style craftsmanship. They already toured the US alongside Spirit Caravan, so this time around they’re headed to Europe for a slew of shows in Switzerland, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

That’ll take Dirty Streets from April 7 through to May 7, but they’ve got shows booked for June in the States as well. Nothing like keeping busy. Dates (and there are many of them) follow, courtesy of the PR wire:

dirty streets euro tour poster

Dirty Streets USA/Europe tour dates

We’re heading to Europe this April!

DIRTY STREETS on tour
March 18 @ Arrow Bar — Texarkana, TX
March 19 @ Swan Dive Patio (SXSW) — Austin, TX
April 2 @ Young Avenue Deli — Memphis, TN
April 7 @ Rössli @ Reitschule — Bern, CH
April 8 @ Kofmehl — Solothurn, CH
April 9 @ Bruch Brothers — Luzern, CH
April 10 @ Le Bouffon de la Taverne — Geneva, CH
April 14 @ La Triangu — Sopelana, ES
April 15 @ The Green Irish Pub — Alcala de Henares, ES
April 16 @ Salason — Cangas de Morrazo
April 17 @ Café Cultural Auriense — Ourense, ES
April 18 @ Gran Café — Leon, ES
April 19 @ La Gramola — Orihuela, ES
April 20 @ Sala Pabersamateo — Valencia, ES
April 21 @ La Boite — Madrid, ES
April 22 @ Veneno Stereo — Castellon, ES
April 23 @ Rocksound — Barcelona, ES
April 24 @ Rock & Apples — Calella, ES
April 26 @ Scène Michelet — Nantes, FR
April 27 @ Sonic Ballroom — Köln, DE
April 28 @ Waschbar — Rüsselsheim, DE
April 29 @ Bluesgarage — Isernhagen, DE
April 30 @ Rare Guitar — Münster, DE
May 1 @ Pogo — Gorinchem, NL
May 4 @ Musicstar — Norderstedt, DE
May 5 @ Happy Billard — Hamburg, DE
May 6 @ Road Runners — Berlin, DE
May 7 @ Kesselhaus — Singwitz, DE
June 10 @ Hi Tone — Memphis TN
June 11 @ TBA — Hattiesburg, MS
June 13 @ Bears Fairfield — Shreveport, LA
June 14 @ Arrow Bar — Texarkana, TX
June 15 @ White Water Tavern — Little Rock, AR
June 16 @ Blue Note — Oklahoma City, OK
June 17 @ Maxines — Hot Springs, AR

https://www.facebook.com/thedirtystreets
http://www.alive-records.com/artist/the-dirty-streets/

Dirty Streets, “White Horse”

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